Housing, Monetary Policy and Company News 07-21-16

The National Association of Realtors announced today that June sales of existing U.S. homes increased by 1.1 percent in June from the prior month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million—their fastest pace since February 2007. The increase came despite a 4.8 percent increase in the median price to $247,700 from June 2015, the NAR reported. The nice June numbers caps off a strong first half for the housing market.

One third of the buyers purchased their first home. This was new buyers’ largest share in almost four years, an encouraging sign. Sales have increased in large measure thanks to low mortgage rates, which last week hit 3.45 percent on average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, according to Freddie Mac. Read more about Housing, Monetary Policy and Company News 07-21-16

Interest Rates Plumb Lows, Income Stocks Still Attractive 07-14-16

U.S. stocks continued to set new record highs with each passing day. Today, they were buoyed by a hint from the Bank of England that it could launch yet another round of monetary stimulation in August. While the BOE rate-setting committee surprised investors when it voted today to maintain its benchmark lending rate at 0.5 percent, the BOE also stated that most committee members expect to loosen policy next month.

Investors are concerned about the economic future of the U.K. after its citizens voted to leave the E.U. last month, so the BOE’s promise of accommodative monetary policy helps to calms some nerves. Read more about Interest Rates Plumb Lows, Income Stocks Still Attractive 07-14-16

As Markets Find their Footing, Some Good News 07-07-16

Markets continued to take investors on a roller-coaster ride in the last week, as investors found their bearings in the wake of the startling result of the Brexit vote in Great Britain. Apart from that vote, however, investors remain somewhat cautious about stocks, given the apparent fragility of the U.S. economy.

While the U.S. has created more than 14 million private sector jobs since 2010, making the current economic expansion one of the longest in modern U.S. history, as noted in the minutes of the June Federal Open Market Committee meeting, even policymakers remain uncertain about future economic growth, and disagree on what to do about the most basic tasks before them.

The economy may have “made further progress,” as Janet Yellen so delicately phrased it, but too many Americans spend too much on housing, according a study from Harvard University, well over the third of their income traditionally budgeted for a roof over one’s head. Read more about As Markets Find their Footing, Some Good News 07-07-16

Global Jitters Abate 06-30-16

Global jitters set in a week ago after British voters turned out in numbers not seen since 1992 to vote to leaving the European Union. Markets took a dive on Friday and fell again on Monday, but they’ve since rebounded to once again put U.S. stock indexes into positive territory for the year. Read more about Global Jitters Abate 06-30-16

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July 2016

Sooner or Later, This Free Money Ride Will End

In the Lead section July issue we take another look at the Fed's dilemma and at the slowdown in M&A activity so far in 2016, bucking the trend in recent years. We review several completed and abandoned deals involving our portfolio members.

In our Growth & Income Portfolio, we review the solid performances of some of our tech stocks and we highlight a Canadian ETF that's rebounded that's to a rally in the commodity markets. In our High-Yield Income Portfolio, we review a sale we did via Instant Alert and we discuss our telecom picks.

In our Pulse of the Market section, we review the battle of the 'flations. We also discuss a fee trend favorite to investors. Read more about Sooner or Later, This Free Money Ride Will End